Sunday, 12 March 2017

''The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie'' (1969 film)- Review

Directed by: Ronald Neame
Released: 1969
Country: United Kingdom

Genre: Drama

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


For those of us belonging to the Harry Potter generation, the name of Maggie Smith is synonymous with that of Professor McGonagall. It was delightful to see a much younger Maggie Smith in a role as unique as that of Miss Jean Brodie in this film.

Miss Jean Brodie is a teacher teaching in an all-girls' school. Having a very romanticized view of the world, Miss Brodie often drifts away from the strict curriculum of the school, often teaching her students such things that the headmistress, Miss Mackay (Celia Johnson, who is much better known for her role as the protagonist in the lovely ''Brief Encounter''), disapproves of. However, Miss Brodie has her own charisma, her own strength, and she hand-picks girls from her students every year, teaching them special things. They are known as ''Miss Brodie's girls''. Unknown to most people but suspected by her special girls, she has an affair with the art teacher of the school, and also one with the music teacher. However, the woman whom we initially see as a slightly immature spinster turns out to have rather dangerous effects on the people around her- as her immature, over-romanticized view of the world and life lead her to do such things that might land those around her- and herself- in trouble. 

 Ah, what a character Miss Jean Brodie is! Maggie Smith does a perfect job portraying her. Her character development is excellent. Initially a woman who is immature and rather interesting, she eventually turns out to be a much more complex character, a person you cannot like and yet cannot hate, a person you don't want to pity but end up pitying, as we see how her immaturity, over-romanticized views can have such drastic effects, can lead to such dangerous consequences. The other actors gave excellent performances as well, and I especially admired Pamela Franklin, who plays Sandy, one of Miss Brodie's favorite students, and a character that eventually goes on to play a very important role in the story.

The plot development is also really good, as the story takes sudden turns and becomes much more complex than the idyllic story it had started as. The plot development takes place steadily, and one has to admire the film for that. 

I really liked this film- really, really liked it- but personally I think it would have been far more satisfying to me had there been characters I could admire more. I mean, the character development and plot development are done really well (Miss Jean Brodie is a very strong character, trust me), but I wish I could really love just one of the characters.  But other than that, I really liked the film. 


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